Neither was the debate settled, nor was the argument continued. For when two diametrically opposite souls realize that coming on one page would take more than a day's journey around a metropolitan city, their lips conceal their fears with a smile.
Who was the decide who the rational one was? Who was to judge the irrational? Who could question the other's opinion without betraying a part of their life's experiences? But they did bare their souls to each other's eager eyes and saw what they had wanted not to see.
Khanak, hitherto, had only encountered a warm, friendly and communicative Shaantanu. True, he was skeptical about somethings but she had believed it only to be because of certain experiences in life. Certain experiences which had isolated effect on his views about specific things. A walk in Old Hampstead Village, though, made Khanak realize that it could very much be possible that the effect hadn't been as isolated as she had thought. Nature, beauty and calmness seemed like things Shaantanu wasn't well aware of. Or at least, wasn't very fond of. Sure, he seemed content with life but maybe that was not because he felt his life was perfect. Maybe it was because he chose to ignore the bad things and keep on moving with his life. But could one really leave their past behind?
Our dear Shaantanu, on the other hand, found himself looking at Khanak in the old light again. Old as in before last night. Before Sameer. And though the outgoing Khanak had made him insecure, the sentimental traditionist walking beside him right now made him feel undeserving. She was someone who truly appreciated the small things in life it seemed. He was someone who looked at the bigger picture. She would take time to acknowledge the beauty of earth's treasures; he was one to seek contentment inside the very concrete giants that trampled on that beauty. He believed in looking out for himself; she believed in looking out for others. Where was the crossroad in their paths? So far, it seemed distant if not nonexistent.
As they walked upto the Houses of Parliament, Khanak turned to look at Shaantanu. The movement of her eyebrows told Shaan she sought his opinion of the Houses. Shaantanu just smiled and pursed his lips, unsure of what he could say about something he wasn't even interested in without offending the girl who he wanted to know more about.
Khanak rolled her eyes.
"Were you serious about not being interested in touring London?" she asked.
No. Shaantanu wasn't serious, but right now this heart didn't seem to be in the tour. How could he tell her this?
"Ermm...nai I was but tab I just didn't want to spoil your plan and ab I'm overwhelmed by London. Amazing city hai." replied Shaan.
"Please bannay ki zaroorat nai hai. You're obviously not interested. And pehle nai but ab plan spoil ho gaya hai." said a dejected Khanak.
"I'm sorry Khanak. I'll make it up to you." Shaan smiled, "See, I'm happy now. Ab chalo Big Ben dekhte hein. It's the one thing I know about London other than the London Eye and Buckingham Palace," he laughed.
"Clock tower, I mean, Big Ben ko hum andar se nai dekh satke."
"Kyun aap British citizen nai hein aur meine MP ko letter likh ke permission nai li" explained a dejected Khanak.
"Kya? That's crazy yaar I'm sure general public ko open hoga let's go nearer and see."
Shaantanu took a step forward but was pulled back by Khanak's tug at this arm. He turned around and gave her a 'What's the problem?' look.
"London mein kon rehta hai? Aap ya main?" asked Khanak, who clearly did not like anyone challenging her knowledge especially when it came to London.
"Tum..." replied Shaantanu, "But tumhein ghalti bhi tou ho sakti hai na. What if they've changed the rules? Ya aaj koi special ocassion ho?"
Khanak gave him the look women give their man when they think he's obviously being ridiculous. The look wives give their husbands to warn them that further disagreement would do more harm than good, thought Shaan. Half-surprised at the comparison he had made, half-happy that it made him feel a connection between himself and Khanak, Shaantanu mentally agreed to go no further. This stubborn, self-assured Khanak had made him adore her simplicity and straightforwardness. She wasn't rude, but she made her point without being too nice about it.
He gave a short laugh and diverted the topic.
"Chalo theek hai, if you're sure tou hum London Eye dekhne chalte hein?"
"Dekh hi sakte hein sirf, flight nai le sakte!" complained Khanak.
"Flight? But it's in London nai? I mean, London Eye hai tou London mein hi hona chahiye." said Shaan, not realizing why Khanak had started smiling the smile when one tries to suppress a smile when a moment ago she seemed irritated at him.
"What? Ab kya huwa Khanak?" asked a confused Shaan.
"Wo..London Eye ki ek journey ko traditionally flight kaha jata hai," she explained.
"Flight? Kyun? Aren't the compartments a part of the wheel? Electronic nai hota sab kuch?"
Khanak couldn't help giving out a short laugh.
"Sorry," she said, visibly embarrassed by her unchecked behaviour. She recomposed herself while replying to Shaan.
"Actually, initially British Airways sponsored the rides tou isi liye unhein 'flights' kaha jata tha and the term continues till date."
"Oh.." Shaan raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips in a downward smile, "that's interesting."
"Yes, very..." said Khanak and started walking.
"But hum flight kyun nai le sakte?" he asked.
"It's best if you book for tickets online. Warna if you want to hum line mein khara ho sakte hein and wait for God knows how long," was Khanak's reply.
Shaantanu could see that Khanak was upset at how the day was turning out to be. She had started the tour with so much enthusiasm and excitement and he had boiled it down to irritation and disinterest.
Though he wasn't much of a fan of Sameer, he realized his importance in Khanak's life. And Khanak had changed her plans with Sameer for him- he should at least respect that. What was wrong in seeing the landmarks Khanak wanted to show him anyway? Why was he acting so reclusive all of a sudden?
So did he really want to wait for long in a queue with Khanak? On the plus side it would guarantee them time together. Time for talking and not walking to look at random buildings. On the down side, that might bore Khanak and maybe himself too. Maybe they'd run out of topics to talk about. Though he was unsure about the latter but well, we all know a man wouldn't take such a risk on a day out with a girl who mesmerized him.
"Okay...so what do you propose next? Kahan jaa rahay hein hum?" Shaantanu asked.
"Movie mein interested hein aap? The Dark Knight Rise, perhaps?" asked Khanak.
The proposal was no doubt tempting, for few men can ignore the temptation of superheroes especially ones dressed suavely in black. But Shaantanu took an extra moment to review the idea. No. It would not do. Both he and Khanak would sit for a couple of hours in a dark cinema and stare at the screen. Nothing much would happen, since they weren't really in the real sense of calling it a "movie-date" so in effect it would be a waste of precious hours.
"Nai. Hum London dekhe nikley hein tou London dekhte hein na. Cinema mein baithne ka kya faida?" said Shaan.
"But you aren't interested in London so might as well do something which interests you." said Khanak.
"But we should do something which interests you too.."
"Oh don't worry, Christian Bale interests me," said Khanak with a sly smile.
I thought about posting an update and sticking to the "Twice a week update" policy instead of waiting to write a looong update with the whole tour. Overdose bhi ho jae ga and wait bhi karna parhe ga so I posted an update today.
Don't worry the London tour is not yet finished though I'm hoping to wrap it up in the next update.
Looking forward to your feedback.
Edited by ABlank90 - 10 August 2012 at 5:57pm